cup. cake.

just when i think i may be going overboard with the plans for my little girl's upcoming cupcake-themed first birthday party, i shall look at the following link to the most cupcake-iest of all cupcake parties ever:

cupcake tea party.

now that is a THEME, ya'll.

(note to frightened husbands everywhere, it will not be that bad. i promise.)

although i have already resigned myself to the fact that i definitely need one of those ginormous cupcake cake pans, even though i may only use it the one time. and maybe a *real* frosting squeezer with the fancy tips, rather than hoping for the best with a ghetto-rigged ziplock bag with the little corner cut off.
cupcakes! pink cupcakes! oh i am so excited.


perhaps the simplest baby gift ever.

knowing me and my love of letters, i'm pretty much obsessed with these little wooden letter blocks of all sorts. when i realized i had enough of the right letters to spell out the name of my good friend's soon-to-be-born little boy's name, i thought what a fun idea for her shower this weekend! (sorry for the terrible photo quality, there has been not even a spot of sunshine in the past two weeks here, i tell you true).

here's what you need:
  • little letter blocks spelling out the wee one's name or monogram
  • a wooden base big enough to fit the letters (approximately 1 inch per letter, depending on the size of your blocks)
  • some white paint (i gave mine a quick swipe of gesso first as sort of a primer)

steps to make it:
  • spell out the name with the blocks, and paint the unfinished edges white. if your blocks are pretty on all six sides you can skip this step! (target has really adorable all-blue and all-pink sets. wish i'd seen them first!)
  • paint your base.
  • set out your letters and hot glue them down. you can do them in a nice, straight line or move them around a little to look like a little kid stacked them up.
  • i like to paint the whole thing after the glue dries with a little decoupage medium. modge podge or such would work well!
  • at this point you could also add a little element to further personalize it, like a little whale or a golf ball or a teddy bear, etc. to one side of the name, depending on what the parents like or the nursery decor.
  • give to the momma-to-be or put in your own nursery to enjoy! (i ended up putting this one out in front of the party favors at the baby shower. then it was momma's to take home!)


candlestick cakeplates.

i am still in the process of inheriting things from my mom, who passed away of cancer in january of 2008, mostly the lovely household goods that she loved to collect... dishes, vases, christmas plates, and all kinds of fun decor. while it's hard sometimes to have reminders of her all around, it does make me happy to use some of the things that used to be hers. i also have a strange and inexplicable love of white dishes, so it was hard for me to let go of anything white. instead of saving the entire set of these super cute basketweave plates, i just kept two and paired them with some chunky mikasa candlestick holders. i thought if i glued them together, i could make cakeplates out of them! fun and functional!

before> two dinner plates and two candlesticks:
after> two cakeplates!
i simply glued around the edges of the candlestick with my trusty favorite hardcore glue, centered the plate on top, and then set a heavy book on top while they dried!
after i finished them, i actually stumbled across a more detailed and prettier tutorial for this project, thanks to the decor genius of design*sponge (you could add the cute painted silhouette, too!). this is such a super simple, instant gratification, easy afternoon craft. i'm loving the look of my (growing) lovely white cakeplate collection!


moulin rouge lampshade.

i have had my nose consistently buried in several copies of diy magazine during my attempts to redecorate our townhouse on the cheap. my thought was that if i could re-do lots of things we already have, we'd get a brand-new look without the brand-new price tag! one idea i came across that i loved was a ribbon-wrapped lampshade. this project was fun, easy, and cost me all of $9 on three rolls of sheer ribbon!

before> plain jane fabric lampshade
after> pretty orange ribbon wrapped (kind-of looking like pleated fabric?) lampshade!
when i stood back to admire my finished project, turning on the lamp, i discovered that the ribbon gives the lamp a sort-of funky moulin rouge-ish glow... a totally unexpected effect! i might normally have thought it cheesy, but i'm guess i'm in just enough of a let's-break-out-of-the-ordinary-expected mood that it works. This, too, is a super quick, easy, and cheap project! you stick the end of the ribbon into the inside of the shade with double-sided tape, and wrap wrap wrap wrap for about 45 minutes while watching re-runs of the office (or maybe that's just me!). anytime your ribbon runs out (mine took about 2 and a half normal-sized rolls) just stick the new end on top of the old end with more tape (making sure to catch the actual shade in there too) and keep wrapping!

sidenote: i'm thinking about touching up the inside with fabric glue where the tape keeps coming unstuck in a place or two!

i had, at first, considered covering just the edges of the outside of the shade with some ribbon, like this other diy tutorial, but i'm really happy with my little orange moulin rouge lampshade.


glass etching!

ever since i read about glass etching in the ginormous martha book, i knew it was a project i would try. in fact, i went straight for her etched storage jars idea, desperate to consolidate all of the half-empty rubber-band-topped plastic bags, mismatched tupperware containers, and paper bags of flour and sugar in my cabinet. so i found the perfect jars at target, dutifully used a michael's coupon for the slightly pricey etching cream, found a fantastic tutorial (in addition to the one in the martha book), and then let all of the materials sit on the kitchen counter.

for two months.

(maybe even three?)

luckily for me, my sweet sister in law attends a monthly craft group (led by a really nice girl we knew in high school!) who was doing an etching project this month, and came home from it with lots of enthusiasm and motivation to share with me! so i packed up K and took her over to play with her cousins while us big girls tested out the etching and had a blast! after a bit of trial and error and tweaking, we were quickly looking for how many other things in the kitchen could be etched? we settled on my sis's dish soap dispenser, which turned out so cute with a little frosty monogram! here is my quickie tutorial of how my jars turned out:

1. pick out what glass item you'd like to etch. (naked jars floating in the craft doldrums at my house):
cute jars waiting to fulfill their etched destiny at my sister in law's house!
2. arrange your stickers to spell out the labeling on your jars, plus any decorative items (like the stripe underneath each word). i used clear packing tape to mark off a large square around the word, but it's practically invisible against the clear glass. i did flour and sugar jars, using not-so-cute scrapbooking alphabet stickers that i had on hand and knew i would most likely never use in a scrapbook! (thus the lovely orange letter/red bandana stripe combo!)
smooth the stickers and the tape down tight so that there are no air bubbles. it also helps to make sure your jar/glass surface is squeaky clean before you start!
3. spread a nice thick layer of etching cream over the area you want to be etched, like you would frosting on a cake. be careful not to spread out over the edge of the tape. i think next time i'll use masking tape so i can see my boundaries more clearly!
4. let the cream sit for awhile. the jar says just a couple of minutes, but i did more like 20 to make sure the etching really showed up. i think next time i'll leave it on even longer. scrape the excess cream back into the container- it can be reused! then gently rinse off the rest (being careful not to wash your stickers off in case you want to etch it more! the etching won't show up well when it's wet, so make sure you pat it dry with a paper towel before deciding if you want it more deeply etched. (if you are not satisfied, spread the cream again and let it sit for 6-10 more minutes, rinsing and checking again until you are happy with it!)
5. enjoy your etched loveliness! (maniacally search house for glass items to etch... i am a little crazy for monogramming everything in my house, so this is a little dangerous for me!)

i will most definitely be using this idea for lots more projects! i'm definitely going to make my own little monogrammed dish soap dispenser, maybe even a huge cookie jar (that says got milk?), and i think more than a few folks may be receiving monogrammed glasses for christmas!

oh, and maybe some ornaments, too.


words to live by.

we have some good friends from our old church that are getting ready to leave this week for a missions trip to tokyo, japan. i think this is the first missions trip they've been on, and their first trip out of the country! M and i are so excited for them, and when they requested some little notes of encouragement to take on the trip with them, M suggested bible verses on index cards. i, of corse, who can leave no surface un-decorated, refined that suggestion to a little "tag book," modeled after one that a good friend sent to me right after K was born. she sent me a tag on a bookbindimg ring, and then sent another tag with an encouraging little saying about motherhood several times a week. it was so great to add each little tag to the ring and watch it fill up with encouragement!

so this is what we came up with for our friends, and popped it in the mail yesterday. i love doing stuff like this! it has 10 pages, one for each day of the trip.
the cover makes me laugh- i'm so into orange and brown right now & the chevron-like stripe makes me think of 70's running shorts.
each page has a verse and a little note why we picked the verse. i got a little marker-happy, and it was good fun.
one of my favorites! such a good verse to remember thoughout the day- words to live by.


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